A police investigation has been launched after a rare white-tailed eagle died as a result of pesticide poisoning in Aberdeenshire.
The bird of prey was discovered from Donside in April, and the recent post mortem results have been reported by Police Scotland, who are treating the death as suspicious.
The bird in question had been satellite tagged.
The white-tailed eagle was reintroduced to Scotland in the 1970s after becoming extinct in the country in the early 1900s.
Scotland now boasts over 150 breeding pairs.
Police Inspector Sheila McDerment, who chairs the North East Partnership Against Wildlife Crime, said: “As well as being illegal, poisoning is a cruel way to kill a bird.
“It also puts the lives of other creatures and plants at risk and impacts negatively on our environment.
“This incident is particularly upsetting because these rare and beautiful birds had been reintroduced to Scotland after being extinct throughout the UK.
“Raptor persecution is one of six priorities set by the UK National Wildlife Crime Unit.
“In the North East we work closely with a number of partners to tackle wildlife crime.
“Members of the public are our eyes and ears.
“I appeal to anyone out there who may hold any information about this incident to help us bring the offender to justice by coming forward and telling us what they know.”
Ian Thomson, RSPB Scotland's Head of Investigations said: "The news that this bird has been illegally poisoned is appalling.
“This crime would never have come to light had the bird not been fitted with a satellite tag, and the killing of this young eagle can be added to a litany of raptor persecution incidents in recent years, including previous poisonings and multiple disappearances of similarly-tagged birds of prey.
“Poisoning is vicious and indiscriminate and we join with Police Scotland in appealing for information.”
Detective Chief Superintendent Gary Cunningham, Wildlife Crime lead for Police Scotland, added: “Scotland’s rich, rare and diverse wildlife and landscapes are among its biggest attractions.
“We cannot allow the indiscriminate use of poisons and pesticides to threaten our natural heritage.
“Police Scotland, working with our key partners, is committed to protecting our wildlife habitats and to bringing those who seek to destroy or harm it, to justice.”
Anybody with any information should contact 101 quoting incident number CF0160960720.
You can also report information anonymously by contacting Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
A message from the Editor:
Thank you for reading this story on our website. While I have your attention, I also have an important request to make of you.
With the coronavirus lockdown having a major impact on many of our advertisers - and consequently the revenue we receive - we are more reliant than ever on you taking out a digital subscription.
Subscribe to scotsman.com and enjoy unlimited access to Scottish news and information online and on our app. With a digital subscription, you can read more than 5 articles, see fewer ads, enjoy faster load times, and get access to exclusive newsletters and content. Visit https://www.scotsman.com/subscriptions now to sign up.
Our journalism costs money and we rely on advertising, print and digital revenues to help to support them. By supporting us, we are able to support you in providing trusted, fact-checked content for this website.